Cantor puts his money where his mouth is

CANTOR PUTS HIS MONEY WHERE HIS MOUTH IS…. It’s funny what turns up sometimes in financial disclosure materials. The Wall Street Journal had this gem yesterday:

WSJ’s Heard on the Street reported this nugget Thursday that caught Washington Wire’s eye:

Putting his money where his mouth is? Eric Cantor, the Republican Whip in the House of Representatives, bought up to $15,000 in shares of ProShares Trust Ultrashort 20+ Year Treasury ETF last December, according to his 2009 financial disclosure statement. The exchange-traded fund takes a short position in long-dated government bonds. In effect, it is a bet against U.S. government bonds — and perhaps on inflation in the future.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about this is the way in which it confirms the worst suspicions about Cantor’s understanding of current events — this guy is betting on inflation? The economic phenomenon that’s effectively non-existent given our current economic conditions? Inflation that the Fed isn’t going to begin worrying about for the rest of the year?

The Washington Independent‘s Annie Lowrey added: “…Cantor is not a very canny investor. The fund is down 31 percent this year.”

It appears Cantor’s investment decisions are about as wise as his legislative decisions. Indeed, if Cantor wanted to give his portfolio a boost, he could do as the White House would like and endorse policies that would stimulate the economy. Americans would be better off, and Cantor’s investments would be worth more money.

But, as Matt Yglesias explained, “either Cantor doesn’t understand his economic self-interest properly, or else he’s more committed to his principled opposition to sound macroeconomic stabilization than he is to the performance of his portfolio.”

My bet is on the former. Cantor doesn’t seem to understand much.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.